This Week: The ways in which we experience art are about to change in big ways… Auction houses are becoming shadow banks for the super-wealthy with money to stash… The Met Museum’s super-successful year (at least at the admissions booth)… Predictably, Harry Potter slays sales records… Do we have a problem with the ways we develop artists’ careers?
- How We Encounter And Experience Art Is Changing: The line between virtual and real is blurring. Whether it’s the giant light projection show at Rio’s opening ceremonies. Or the National Theatre in London opening its own virtual reality studio to experiment in. Some music producers are thinking virtual reality is the next new music video form. Meanwhile, projected animation has gotten so good that big pop stars are interacting with animated characters on stage. And some opera companies are giving it a whirl. The places and forms in which we experience art going forward are going to evolve significantly.
- Got Cash You Need To Stash Somewhere? Auction Houses Are Becoming Shadow Banks: The mega-rich have so much money that they’re looking for places to store it. One way is buying up real estate in cities like San Francisco and Seattle and New York where prices are soaring. But another way is getting into the art markets. “As prices for art skyrocketed, Sotheby’s and other firms have become shadow banks, making millions of dollars of legal loans outside the regulated financial system and raising concerns that such financing could facilitate money laundering.”
- The Met Museum Reports A Big Attendance Boost: Is this a good thing? More than 6.7 million came through the doors. “This year’s attendance – the fifth in a row exceeding six million – was 400,000 higher than that of the previous year. The Met attributed this to an increase of about 200,000 visitors at its Fifth Avenue flagship and the Met Cloisters combined and to 185,000 people taking in the Met Breuer during its first four months.” The galleries are always jammed now. And though it’s nice to be popular, the mobs don’t make for a better experience. And with budget cuts and layoffs over the past few months, the healthy attendance hasn’t solved the money issues.
- Predictable? New Harry Potter Book Is Already The Biggest Publishing Success Of The Decade: Sales in the first week already outstripped any book published this decade. Of course Potter is one of the biggest transmedia franchises of all time, but still – “It has sold more than 680,000 copies in its first three days alone, beating Fifty Shades of Grey which sold 664,478 in a single week in 2012. At its current rate, it is on track to become the second biggest single-week sales for a book since records began.” And since it’s in the form of a script, you can bet the next movies isn’t far behind.
- How Are We Developing The Next Generation Of Art/ists? Theatre has a big next-big-thing problem. “At its best, artist development is terrific, providing opportunities and genuine benefits for early-career artists; at it’s worst, it can be like butterfly collecting, and just as cruel. That’s because too many artist-development schemes are not designed to support ambition and scale and so they don’t help artists develop sustainable careers in the industry.” Often the structures for nurturing new work (and new artists) seems more about the system itself rather than developing distinct new voices.